Waatea News Update

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Location: Auckland, New Zealand

Friday, August 28, 2009

Tainui asset values trimmed by $51 million

Tainui leaders will tomorrow try to explain to their people how the tribe lost $51 million in the year to March.

The Waikato Tainui Te Kauhanganui tribal parliament is holding its annual meeting at Hopuhopu, followed by a hui for beneficiaries of the Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust.

As an organisation whose main business is property leasing and development, the financial crisis was sure to hit Tainui's balance sheet.

With work on its Hamilton subdivisions suspended until conditions improve, income from section sales dropped 85 percent, although the fortuitous timing of a rent review meant rental income jumped 15 percent.

The Waikato Raupatu Lands Trust and Group made a net after tax operating profit of $10 million, down from 15 million last year, but revaluation of its property and investment portfolio left a $51 million deficit, bringing total net assets down to $433 million.

Despite that, the amount paid out in marae, tertiary study and sports grants rose from $5.1 to $7.3 million.

The financial crunch means the executive, Te Arataura, has put development of a new tribal administrative centre on hold and also put off rebuilding te Kauhanganui's debating chamber at Hopuhopu.

The good news was the river settlement flowing onto the books, with the Waikato Raupatu River Trust showing $85 million in assets, including $20 million to prop up the Waikato Endowment College at Hopuhopu, $50 million for cultural and envoromental development projects connected with the river, and the balance to fund the tribe's co-management duties.


A grass roots literacy programme was launched at Manurewa Marae today to lift the reading skills of maori students in south Auckland.

Pita Sharples, the associate Minister of Education, says too many young Maori reach high school with substandard literacy.

He says Manurewa was chosen because 40 percent of the students are Maori.

“It's a very good area, a mixed population, and a large proportion Maori, so we’re doing it in over 20 primary schools, three intermediates three high schools, two kura and one wharekura, so it’s quite a comprehensive programme,” Dr Sharples says.

The programme involves professional development for teachers, strengthening reading recovery programmes, and appointing literacy development officers to work with schools.


Nga Puhi artist Lisa Reihana says the ancestors featured in her works are becoming seasoned travellers.

Her Digital Marae goes in show in London next month as part of a group show called ethKnowcentrix.

It also features other Maori and Polynesian artists challenging ethnographic traditions, including Shigeyuki Kihara, George Nuku and Rosanna Raymond.

Reihana's images of Maori ancestral figures are currently in an exhibition in Panama, and some were shown in Cuba earlier in the year.

“They’re kind of getting out there. Even though they’re not currently on show in New Zealand, they’re kind of getting out there. So those gods and goddesses just get around the world.
DUR: 22 secs
Tomorrow Lisa Reihana launches a book on the Digital Marae project at the McCahon House in Titirangi, where she is artist in residence.

The National Distribution Union is going out to its Maori and Pacific Island members to find out how the recession is affecting them.


Syd Kepa, the union's apiha Maori, says the hui at Whaiora marae in Otara tomorrow is a chance for members to say what they need to get through tough times.

He says most of the lay-offs in manufacturing and service jobs have come from low income areas like south Auckland.

“In poor communities when someone gets made redundant, the first to people to feel it are the workers. When the economy lifts, the last people to feel it are the workers, if they ever do so that’s the kind of korero we’d like to have with the community here,” Mr Keepa says.

While his members are told times are tough, many of the companies they work for are still extracting substantial profits from their communities.


A prison reform advocate says the rather than building new prisons out of shipping containers, the government should do more to cut the number of prisoners.

New Zealand has the second highest rates of incarceration in the western world behind the United States, with Maori inmates making up around half the 8400 muster.

Elizabeth Gordon, an executive member of the Howard League for Penal Reform, says a new 60 bed prison wing at Rimutaka prison built from shipping containers shows the government is on the wrong track.

She says the $90,000 a year spent keeping someone in prison could be better spent in the community helping people keep out of jail.


Green party co leader Metria Turei says Maori have a right to feel galled by government moves to open up the DOC estate to mining.

Energy minister Jerry Brownlee yesterday called for a report to identify potential sites where restrictions on prospecting can be lifted.

Ms Turei says DOC land has been a major issue in treaty settlement talks, with many iwi seeking co-management or the outright return of conservation land.

“It's really important too for our foreshore and seabed because some of these areas that are otherwise protected from mining are in the ocean and so we need to be really aware of protecting and having responsibility over those areas too,” Ms Turei says.

She says iwi want conservation land in their rohe kept in pristine condition, not degraded by mining efforts.


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